Questions that went unanswered?

Don Buxton received this response:

— On Mon, 28/5/12, Battersby, Karl <Karl.Battersby@rotherham.gov.uk> wrote:
From: Battersby, Karl <Karl.Battersby@rotherham.gov.uk>
Subject: RE: FOI Request – 105
To: “DON BUXTON”
Cc: “Kemp, Liz” <Liz.Kemp@rotherham.gov.uk>
Date: Monday, 28 May, 2012, 14:43

Mr Buxton, I write in response to your request on behalf of the Chief Executive.

In terms of the first issue, advice from the Information Commissioners Office is that for a request to be valid under the Freedom of Information Act it must be in writing, but requesters do not have to mention the Act or direct their request to a designated member of staff. We should therefore treat every request for information as an FOI request.

In terms of the cost, we use a cost calculator based on the amount of time taken to find the information and deal with the request. This includes the time taken to log in the request, retrieve the information,  and subsequently respond. We do not make a charge ( although the regulations allow a charge to be levied), but we do show what it has cost to respond. The regulations state that:

“ A public authority can charge for the time taken by its staff on the activities included in communicating the information. Regulation 7(5) indicates that staff time is to be charged at the flat rate of £25 per hour, irrespective of whether a higher rate is actually incurred by internal staff or charged by external contractor staff”.

We use this regulation as the basis for communicating what it has cost to respond to the request for information. In this instance, the cost to the authority in responding to this request has been £12.50.

Regards.

Karl Battersby
Strategic Director
Environment and Development Services
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Still dissatisfied, Don replied thus:

Dear chiefexecutive@rotherham.gov.uk

In response to the latest e-mail from your subordinate employee I note that there has been a complete failure by RMBC to answer these two points –

(a) – I would appreciate a detailed costing from you or a subordinate which explains how your organisation is able to concoct such a ridiculous notional imaginary sum.

(b) – Will you be adding such a spurious notional sum to your subsequent requests to Leeds City Council for reimbursement of the costs of RMBC’s civic vehicle. If not, please explain to me why not.

I also note the pedantic nature of your response which alleges the further spurious notional cost of £12.50.

To quote a previous Chief Executive of RMBC, the e-mail was read, but not read thoroughly enough. Perhaps if it had been read thoroughly enough then you could have saved £12.50 instead of incurring it.

I have costed my time at 0% in relation to my request to obtain statutory information held by RMBC, and as such will not be making a request for payment or reimbursement to RMBC.

This has been part of my civic duty as an active and empowered citizen who wishes to scrutinise and challenge the costs of activities of those who are elected to discharge public duties on behalf of Rotherham citizens.

I hope to have the courtesy of a reply to my two unanswered points.

Yours Sincerely,

Donald H. Buxton

Don’t miss Trambuster’s comment, which reveals the amazing and outrageous deception at the heart of Karl Battersby’s reply! Karl Battersby should learn that Rothpol’s contributors and readers are neither fools or mushrooms!

2 thoughts on “Questions that went unanswered?

  1. Er yes, well what we have here is yet another example of our friend Director Battersby selectively quoting bits from documents to support his stance (if you recall, he did this when he implied that the Mayor’s car was a ‘statutory vehicle’ e.g. a dust cart !!).

    He’s extracted his quote from an Information Commissioner’s guidance note entitled ‘Fees that may be charged when the cost of compliance exceeds the appropriate limit’ – the latter two words being most important indeed.

    For reader’s information ‘The Appropriate Limit’ is set down in the ‘The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004’ as below:

    The appropriate limit
    3.
    – (1) This regulation has effect to prescribe the appropriate limit referred to in section 9A(3) and (4) of the 1998 Act and the appropriate limit referred to in section 12(1) and (2) of the 2000 Act.
    – (2) In the case of a public authority which is listed in Part I of Schedule 1 to the 2000 Act, the appropriate limit is £600.
    – (3) In the case of any other public authority, the appropriate limit is £450.

    So in other words, it is indeed the case that THT can make a charge for information, but only after the limit of accrued costs has exceeded £450 (staff time being charged at £25 per hour) or where they want to charge for photocopies of documents.

    Seeing as how Don asked for only a bit of info, certainly not 18hours worth, and asked for his info in electronic format, then Director Battersby’s response is, as ever, wholly without sincerity and credence.

    Nothin new there then!

    Like

    • To say that Karl Battersby’s deceptive answers are irritating would be an understatement!

      These highly paid ‘public servants’ have a duty to be honest, truthful and complete, when providing information to members of the public? Not apparently, in Karl Battersby’s case!

      Is this the same kind of wonderful example of Rotherham’s blue badge abusing Councillor, caught bang to rights and then the Traffic Order was so conveniently found to be flawed, allowing him to escape prosecution and the ‘cover up’ that persists to this day?

      Like

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